The federal judge overseeing more than 1,500 lawsuits filed by city and county governments against manufacturers, distributors and retailers over the opioid crisis has ordered the public release of data showing where prescription drugs were distributed nationally before 2013.
Judge Dan Polster, who is based in Cleveland, issued the order Monday saying there is "clearly no basis" for shielding older data maintained by the Drug Enforcement Administration.
A federal appeals court last month ruled Polster went too far in blocking the release of data that government attorneys argued could compromise DEA investigations.
Polster's order asks attorneys for both sides to suggest how data collected after 2012 should be protected.
A committee of attorneys representing the municipal plaintiffs applauded the order, saying the data will show how opioid pills "flooded" communities across the U.S.
Meanwhile, the McLean County Board is set to vote Tuesday night on a plan for the county to file its own lawsuit in federal court over the opioid epidemic.